‘Balmoral Show exposes need for agricultural sector to be protected from brexit’

Colum Eastwood with the UFU team (from left) chief Executive Wesley Aston, president Ivor Ferguson and deputy presidents David Brown and Victor Chestnutt.
Colum Eastwood with the UFU team (from left) chief Executive Wesley Aston, president Ivor Ferguson and deputy presidents David Brown and Victor Chestnutt.

SDLP Leader and EU candidate Colum Eastwood met with farmers, small businesses and representatives of the agricultural sector at the Balmoral Show this week.

Speaking after his visit, Mr Eastwood said the interests of the agricultural sector would be best served by “remaining in the European Union” and that it was up-to politicians here to “step up and stand up” for the sector

Mr Eastwood added: “The Balmoral Show is one of the highlights of the year here in Northern Ireland. We celebrate the strength of our agricultural sector and unique produce that we have across the North. This year certainly, those at the show were more concerned than ever about the increased uncertainty following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Farmers, small businesses and those working right across the agricultural sector are deeply concerned about what Brexit will mean to their industries, their livelihoods and in turn our local economy.

“It is absolutely clear that remaining in the European Union is the best way to protect the interests of the agricultural sector. And it’s up to politicians here to step up and stand up for our farmers and small businesses. The absence of Stormont is absolutely shameful. With politicians not at work, the agricultural sector is being badly let down. Their voices and interests are being silenced and sidelined from the debate without adequate representation.

“That’s why it is absolutely imperative that we send a strong message in next week’s EU election that we do not support Brexit. That our agricultural sector deserves better than the crisis and chaos created by the Westminster Government.

“The best way we can do that is by sending a second remain seat to Europe - we know that Sinn Fein’s remain seat is safe - so in this election, I’m asking the pro-remain axis to come together, for everyone to unite to elect me as the pro-Europe candidate who is best placed to win a second seat. A vote for me is a vote to protect our farming community, to safeguard our small businesses and to once and for all fight back to stop Brexit from damaging all of our futures,” he added.